NJ Politics Digest: Christie Likely to Avoid Examination as Bridgegate Trial Wraps Up

It’s Thursday, and with the defense resting and the Bridgegate trial winding down, it appears Gov. Chris Christie will not have to make an appearance to answer questions about who planned the traffic tie-up and what he knew about the scandal.
Meanwhile, Atlantic City officials appear likely to have forestalled a state takeover of the resort’s finances, as Senate President Steve Sweeney – who once supported that action – has said the state has no interest in such a move.
In other news, NJ Transit officials say they will answer state legislators’ questions, some municipal officials are facing legal issues and there’s new state action to help heroin addicts.

Quote of the Day: “The desire was to get them to get their house in order. They weren’t being responsible. Why did they have to have a gun put to their head?” Senate President Steve Sweeney, on earlier state threats of a takeover of Atlantic City’s finances.

Christie not expected to testify in Bridgegate trial
Gov. Chris Christie is not expected to testify in the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal criminal trial, according to the court transcript of a conference discussing motions in the trial.
Ted Sherman and Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

Christie says he never knew, others say he did
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has maintained for three years that he didn’t know anything about the George Washington Bridge lane closures either before they happened or while they were going on.
Associated Press Read more

Prosecution doesn’t need to prove motivation behind GWB lane closures
For more than a year since the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced charges against Bridget Anne Kelly and Bill Baroni for their alleged role in the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal, the motivation for the shutdown has been clear: to punish Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor for not endorsing Christie for re-election, according to the prosecutors.
Dustin Racioppi, The Record Read more

Defense rests in Bridgegate as prosecutors question Kelly’s version of events
After six weeks of testimony, dozens of witnesses and declarations of innocence from the two former Christie administration insiders now on trial, the defense in the Bridgegate scandal has rested.
Ted Sherman and Matt Arco, NJ.com Read more

Tom Kean still doesn’t regret meeting Chris Christie
A teenage boy knocks on the door of an imposing house. A future national statesman opens the door. The boy says he wants to get into politics and his mom drove him here for an answer. The future statesman says if you’re serious come with me now. So begins the Chris Christie narrative.
Alfred Doblin, The Record Read more

Atlantic City will fight if Christie orders state takeover
Don’t expect Atlantic City officials to quit fighting if the state decides next week to take over the financially struggling gambling resort.
Brent Johnson, NJ.com Read more

Sweeney: No one wants to take over Atlantic City
It was only last May that N.J. Senate President Stephen Sweeney was arguing for a sweeping state takeover of Atlantic City, saying that was the only way to get the seaside resort out of its fiscal jam.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

Atlantic City pushes recovery plan to Trenton
Atlantic City officials presented their fiscal recovery plan Wednesday to state lawmakers, who were receptive but raised questions about the plan’s key parts.
Christian Hetrick, Press of Atlantic City Read more

Atlantic City: Tax hike looms if state rejects fiscal plan
Atlantic City pitched its financial recovery plan to state officials on Wednesday, warning that if Republican Gov. Chris Christie rejects it another big tax increase will hit residents whose taxes already have more than doubled over the last six years.
Associated Press Read more

A.C. adviser: I have Vegas assurance on Borgata deal
A day after the city of Atlantic City touted a $103 million settlement of more than $150 million owed its biggest taxpayer, Borgata Hotel and Casino, the casino denied any such deal.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer Read more

Health coverage eats up 9% of NJ household budgets
New Jersey workers paid an average of $4,900 for family health coverage last year, up from about $3,000 in 2006, a new report from the Commonwealth Fund said on Tuesday.
Kathleen Lynn, The Record Read more

NJ Transit hires $350-an-hour safety consultant
A former Metro-North president will be tapped by NJ Transit to help the agency’s rail system meet federal safety requirements.
Larry Higgs, NJ.com Read more

NJ Transit: We’ll ‘do our best’ to answer legislators’ questions this week
The new head of New Jersey’s troubled commuter transportation authority wouldn’t commit to answering a series of questions from legislators by Friday, their deadline, after which they’ve threatened to issue subpoenas.
Conor Skelding, Politico Read more

State Offers Bonds to Top Off Depleted TTF
The price of gasoline will go up in New Jersey early next week, thanks to the unpopular fuel-tax increase that Gov. Chris Christie and lawmakers approved this month to renew the state’s broke Transportation Trust Fund.
John Reitmeyer and Chase Brush, NJSpotlight Read more

New law will help police help addicts
Gov. Chris Christie signed legislation Wednesday that will provide a statewide framework for police departments setting up programs to help addicts get into addiction treatment.
Ken Serrano, Asbury Park Press Read more

Luis Guzman makes history as first Dominican police chief in Passaic
Deputy Chief Luis Guzman made history when he assumed command of the Passaic Police Department on Wednesday, marking the first time that a Dominican has been chosen to lead the force.
Richard Cowen, The Record, Read more

Education commissioner visits Northfield school
The Northfield Community School has received a lot of recognition for its innovative learning ideas, from a partnership with Thomas Jefferson University Hospital to its national Student Voices award from the State Educational Technology Directors Association.
Diane D’Amico, Press of Atlantic City Read more

Never Trump, Never Hillary for N.J. woman running for president
Supporters of Hillary Clinton use the catchphrase “I’m with her” to indicate support for the former secretary of state’s presidential campaign, but Clinton isn’t the only “her” running for president.
Terrence T. McDonald, The Jersey Journal Read more

N.J.’s 4th largest city may soon offer IDs to unauthorized immigrants
Elizabeth could soon become the latest New Jersey municipality to offer local identification cards to unauthorized immigrants, homeless people and others.
Marisa Iati, NJ.com Read more

Paterson officials may cut city property taxes for first time in recent years
For the first time in more than six years, city officials have put together a preliminary budget that would reduce the amount of taxes collected for municipal government and also cut spending.
Joe Malinconico, The Record Read more

10 charged in protest that shut down George Washington Bridge
Police charged 10 people Wednesday in a protest on the George Washington Bridge that closed lanes and caused extensive delays during morning rush hour.
Craig McCarthy, NJ.com Read more

Trenton Councilwoman Holly-Ward allegedly steals docs from City Hall
A city official apparently has some sticky fingers.
Councilwoman Phyllis Holly-Ward has been accused of stealing classified and confidential personnel documents from City Hall last Friday, numerous sources with knowledge of the situation told The Trentonian.
David Foster, The Trentonian Read more

Hillside mayor no-shows court hearing, subpoenas emails between cops
Hillside Mayor Angela Garretson declined to appear Tuesday in municipal court for a hearing on five traffic summonses issued to her by the township police union president amid an ongoing dispute with the department.
Tom Haydon, NJ.com Read more